The Smashing Pumpkins - CYR
Nov 27, 2020
47
I think it's commendable that The Smashing Pumpkins have consistently released music over the last thirty years, which is a feat few bands from the 90's have been able to accomplish. At now eleven albums over the course of those thirty years the longest gap they have had in releases was a seven year stint between 2000 and 2007 when they were broken up, and otherwise albums take at most five years to follow up. That dedication and long-term commitment speaks to members like Jimmy Chamberlin and obviously Billy Corgan who have spent years actively making music for the group.

The unfortunate aspect of the last fifteen years of their reformation is that they have never returned to the quality of output they had in the 90's. All their most memorable songs exist on albums like Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie, and try as they might they just can't seem to find the magic again. CYR is no exception.

The most glaring issue of CYR, ultimately, is a very blunt one and not a word I generally try to use to describe someone's artistic expression. The album, at well over an hour and twenty songs, is just boring. It's hard to say the album has a lot of filler because few if any songs differentiate themselves from the last, so if you wanted to clear out filler you'd be hard pressed to figure out which songs fell into that category. It's also hard to call the effort generally bloated because, had the album been full of engaging material, I would have been more than happy to take in an hour long Smashing Pumpkins album. This just isn't the case, and the results are so easy to tune out that it's almost like no music is playing at all.

The only real feature of The Smashing Pumpkins that has changed on CYR compared to their 90's output is the heavy usage of synths. Arrest me for the honesty, but I haven't listened to any of their revival albums and so I'm not even sure if this is a sound they've committed to over the course of the last decade and a half. It's not inherently uninteresting, to be fair to the album, but when the synth tones all kind of blend together for a sound heap it once again becomes difficult to find moments that stand out.

Otherwise, today's four-piece utilize the same kind of alternative rock style they are known for, and Corgan sounds about identical after thirty years in his vocal pattern and inflection. I wouldn't say this is a negative and honestly should be seen as a positive; the general tone of The Smashing Pumpkins remains in tact and therefore should be easy for old fans to buy into. It just becomes a chore when the album is so long and so predictable and unvaried.

CYR isn't a straight up bad album. Instead, it's just criminally middle-of-the-road, constantly serving as background sound that doesn't accomplish anything to suck you back into the record. For long-time fans of The Smashing Pumpkins they don't do all that much to keep you coming back for more, and with each album they likely lose a handful more of the fans still sticking around trying to enjoy what they do. At this point Corgan should probably just lean into his passion for wrestling and keep managing the NWA and the other members should find something else to fill up their time.

Favorite track: Cyr
7 Comments
Nov 27, 2020
“Arrest me for the honesty, but I haven't listened to any of their revival albums and so I'm not even sure if this is a sound they've committed to over the course of the last decade and a half.”

It’s not. Closest comparison would be Corgan’s first solo LP which was more varied and had more memorable tunes. I take issue with you making blanket statements about their 21st century catalog without having listened to any of those records in full. It’s a pretty varied and generally forward thinking catalog without retracing their 90s steps much, even if practically none of it is essential. But then again, no 21st century LP from Foo Fighters or Weezer or Alice in Chains or Soundgarden, etc. is really worth adding to your collection either.
Nov 27, 2020
I mean. I didn’t make a blanket statement. That quote directly says “I don’t know what the content of the last decade and a half is.” So I didn’t make a blanket statement, I said I don’t know and directed my comments to this album. So I’m not sure what you take issue with.
Nov 27, 2020
This would be the blanket statement in question

“ The unfortunate aspect of the last fifteen years of their reformation is that they have never returned to the quality of output they had in the 90's”

You’re essentially making a statement about that catalog and later admitting you have not listened to it.
Nov 28, 2020
That statement is based on commercial success, critical reception and widespread fan reception. No I have not listened to it personally. All metrics suggest it’s a likely an accurate statement. I apologize if you take umbrage with the statement because you personally enjoy some of the last fifteen years of their material, but I think you would have a hard time making a strong case their most recent work is up to speed with albums like Siamese Dream or Mellon Collie, unless somehow it is all universally under appreciated.
Nov 29, 2020
I only liked the first Shiny LP out of everything they’ve done from the last 20 years (although there’s probably a great compilation’s worth of material spanning Billy’s various endeavors).

My point is simply that someone always needs to take the journey themselves rather than just list some arbitrary measurements as gospel. I want to hear YOUR opinion not you making an opinionated statement without having put in the effort.

For what it’s worth, Cyr is the least creative exercise they (and Billy in general) have done in the last 20 years, so the rest of the catalog is essentially better. There’s undeniably great tunes scattered on all of them (I count about four on Cyr) and a fair amount of fans consider Oceania to actually be a pretty good LP. Again, I am just arguing against making statements without listening rather than standing up for a post-90s catalog that isn’t all that great.
Nov 30, 2020
It's really worth listening to Oceania if you're looking for a post 2000 LP to sink your teeth into. Much more consistent than Cyr.
Dec 2, 2020
I’ll have to try and get around to that. I have TSP as an artist to potentially cover discography-wise next year, since I usually do once a week.
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